In the words of Jack Burton…everybody relax, I’m here.
That’s right…despite the untimely departure of Tom Young, the “For The Fans” blog will live on. News-Gazette Sports Editor Jim Rossow has bestowed upon me the privilege of picking up where Tom left off, and I’m excited to have the opportunity.
A little bit about me…I was born and raised in nearby Bloomington, Illinois. I first cut my teeth in the journalism world in high school, where I got the opportunity to do play-by-play for a number of sports. I found out quickly that it was a fun gig and that I had a knack for it, so I decided to make a career out of it.
I came to the University of Illinois and made it out alive in four years with a Broadcast Journalism degree. Most of my time outside of the classroom was spent at Illini Media, where I did a mix of news and sports reporting and anchoring, including two years as sports director at WPGU-FM. I also hosted and produced a weekly sports talk show on PGU for three years and worked a variety of roles on PGU’s broadcasts of Illini Hockey games. I also had stints with the Big Ten Network, WICD, UI-7, Great Plains Media, and WDWS.
And speaking of DWS, that’s where I’m at now. My primary duties are as an anchor and reporter in the newsroom, but I also handle the digital duties around the radio center (check out our Twitter and Facebook pages!) and help out the sports staff with their broadcasts throughout the year, whether it’s on the air or behind the scenes.
On the personal side, I’ve had a connection the U of I my entire life. Several family members of mine went to school here, and I’ve been coming to football and basketball games since I’ve been in diapers. And ever since I started living here, I’ve been going to pretty much all of the Olympic sporting events (volleyball, baseball, etc.) as well. People always ask me why I do that, and the answer is I’ll watch any sporting event, but I particularly enjoy watching Illini sports, no matter what playing field it is.
OK, back to why you’re all here…this blog.
We’re going to keep things mostly the same as the way Tom ran things. Starting with next week’s Purdue game, I’ll take your predictions for every regular season Illini basketball game. We’ll keep track of the best pickers, and we’ll give away prizes at the midway point (Indiana game tickets) and the end (prize TBD) of the regular season. Winners will be determined by same criteria that Tom used:
- Number of games picked correctly.
- Real Spread Difference Total (RSDT). This is basically how close you predict the score. For example, if you predict the Illini to win by 10 and they win by 17, your RSDT would be 7. If you pick the Illini to win by 5 and they lose by 7, your RSDT would be 12. Click here to see how this works in a chart.
- Number of scores picked correctly. It’s rare, but it could happen.
- And if no clear winner emerges from all of this, a two-man sack race will be held on consecutive Sundays until a champion can be crowned.
I’ll also throw in some analysis and audio/visual aids, but I’ll leave the intense analysis to the guys who get paid to cover the team. You’re all welcome to chime is as well, but please keep it clean.
Any questions or comments, leave a note here or drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org. Let’s have some fun with this!
COMING UP ON MONDAY: My thoughts on the Auburn game, the Illini season so far, and Purdue game predictions
P.S. – Shameless plug…Michael Kiser and myself are filling in for Steve Kelly tonight and tomorrow on SportsTalk on DWS. Tonight, we'll talk NFL and NBA with Dave Schuster from 670 The Score in Chicago. Tune in from 5:10-6. Better yet, call in with your comments. You won’t regret it.
[Jack Burton photo courtesy of wingkong.net, United Center photo courtesy of Jay Lee]